Channel Island Firm Secures Britain’s First High-THC Commercial Cultivation Licence For Over 20 Years

CHANNEL islands company Northern Leaf has successfully secured a medical cannabis cultivation licence to produce medicines for the UK and European markets.

The Jersey Government, under the guidance of the UK Home Office, has issued Northern the first British high-THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) commercial cultivation licence since 1998.

The multimillion pound development will see Northern Leaf start commercial cannabis cultivation in the next few weeks with the aim of supplying product to the European market.

This will be seen as a major breakthrough for the UK medical cannabis community and comes almost two decades after the first commercial high-THC medical cannabis licence was issued to GW Pharmaceuticals in 1998.

The Global Market Is Under-Supplied

Backed by London-based venture capital firm Chrystal Capital Partners Northern has acquired 75,000 sq ft of greenhouses – equivalent to the size of a football pitch.

Campbell Dunlop, chief executive of Northern Leaf, told the Financial Times: “Demand is increasing globally and the market is currently undersupplied.”

Tristan Gervais, Head of Chrystal Capital Cannabis Advisory, told BusinessCann: “We are delighted to have advised Northern Leaf on securing the first full commercial medical cannabis licence that has been awarded in the British Isles since GW Pharmaceuticals 22 years ago.

“This is a significant milestone for Northern Leaf and a big step towards its goal of becoming a leading supplier of EU-GMP grade medical cannabis to the rapidly growing European markets, forecast to be worth $3.9bn per annum by 2025.”

Trail Was Blazed By GW Pharmaceuticals

The cannabis plants will be processed and cannabinoids extracted at the Jersey facility which will also produce pharmaceutical-grade flowers and oils for the wholesale market, or to be processed into Northern’s own brands. It is also exploring ways to enter the UK market through the ‘specials’ medicine’ route.

Northern says the award of the licence is a strong endorsement, at Government level, of the quality of the company’s pharmaceutical-grade operations and management team.

Speaking to BusinessCann Kingsley Wilson, Co-Founder of Chrystal Capital Partners spoke of its £3m investment in the company to date.

“We have helped Northern Leaf become established by acquiring greenhouses in Jersey and helping in the development of the management team, as well as helping secure its high-THC licence and bringing in off-take partners for its products.

“We have raised £3m so far for the business and will be helping to raise a further £5m.”

The development will see Northern become the UK’s second domestic medical cannabis producer following trailblazer GW Pharmaceuticals.

GW is one of the world’s leading medical cannabis companies with its home-grown cannabis going into its licensed drugs Sativex and Epidyolex. Its first cultivation facility was built over 20 years ago.

Its research operations are based in Kent and its growing facilities are owned and managed by British Sugar in Wissington, Norfolk. They consist almost 2m sq ft of growing space – equivalent to 34 football pitches.

Chrystal’s cannabis practice is the only dedicated cannabis corporate finance advisory team in Europe. This is Chrystal’s 14th cannabis advisory deal in the last four years. It has raised and advised on over $400m of public and private transactions in the cannabis sector across North America, Latin America and Europe.

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